Various studies have demonstrated that while the lower educated support economic redistribution more than the higher educated do, they nonetheless dislike welfare support for immigrants more strongly. This paper aims to explain this remarkably particularistic application of the principle of economic egalitarianism (‘welfare chauvinism’) by testing three theories by means of survey data representative for the Dutch population (N = 1,972). The first theory asserts that the low level of political competence of the lower educated is responsible, the second focuses on their weak economic position, and the third claims that their limited amount of cultural capital is decisive. Only the latter explanation is confirmed and implications for debates about ethnocentrism, deservingness and welfare state legitimacy, as well as the ideological profile of the lower-educated working class are discussed.

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Centre for Rotterdam Cultural Sociology (CROCUS)
Journal of European Social Policy
Department of Sociology

van der Waal, J., Achterberg, P., Houtman, D., de Koster, W., & Manevska, K. (2010). 'Some are More Equal than Others.' Economic Egalitarianism and Welfare Chauvinism in the Netherlands. Journal of European Social Policy, 1–34. Retrieved from